FTC Warns of Broadband Benefit Scammers

FTC seal
(Image credit: FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers about potential scamming of the Biden administration‘s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.

In a blog post on its website, the FTC said “while there is a real government program to help people connect during the pandemic, there’s no payment required to enroll. That’s just a scam.”

“Government impersonators can use official looking names and logos to get them to open their wallets or share personal info,” the agency said. 

It points out that the only legitimate way for consumers to sign up for the subsidy is through the website GetEmergencyBroadband.org.

Red flags include solicitations for up-front paymentsor requests for personal information by anyone who reaches out claiming to be with the FCC.

Also Read: FCC Warns of Emergency Broadband Benefit Imposter

In August, the FCC issued its own fraud warning and took steps to disable a website purportedly run by WiFi Freedom USA that claims to administer the EBB program, including connected devices and services.

The $3.2 billion subsidy, passed by Congress as part of a December COVID-19 aid package, offers up to a $50-per-month subsidy for eligible households (up to $75 on tribal lands) and up to a one-time $100 toward a computer or tablet until the money is expended.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.